(COLUMBIA, Mo., AP) — The University of Missouri has suspended its undergraduate art education program for the coming year because of a continuing lack of students.
The program will not accept new students, but current students will be able to finish their coursework and graduate. The decision will not cause any job losses, university officials said.
The program graduated only two students in 2009-10, eight students in 2010-11, 11 in 2011-12 and seven in 2012-13, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1mKhYnV).
Interim Provost Ken Dean said the art education faculty asked in 2010 for three years to improve.
“They were provided with resources and space to continue but were told we wanted to see substantially higher numbers of graduates,” Dean said.
Kathryn Chval, associate dean for academic affairs in the education school, said in an email that students will have three options for arts education — earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and then pursuing a teaching certificate, pursuing the graduate art education program, or seeking an undergraduate degree in art education at one of 27 other Missouri institutions that offer the degree.
Dean said five freshmen set to enter the program next year will have to make other plans.
The department had only three faculty members; one has taken job at another university and another retired. The remaining employee, Kathy Unrath, called the decision to suspend the program “devastating.”
“It sends a really powerful message about the support from the university and how all of us value the arts and humanities as part of a holistic approach to education,” said Unrath, who will continue to teach art education classes to graduate and undergraduate students.
Students and supporters have created online petition forms and social media pages to oppose the move.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com